Posts tagged: dams
FISHING — Solid winter trout fisheries are hot items.
Check out this report from Mark Morical of the Bend Bulletin about Central Oregon's Crooked River, a trout stream that lures fly fishers from far and wide, especially to the 7-mile stretch below Bowman Dam.
FISHERIES — The eggs of endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon in Idaho and Montana are less likely to hatch in the river because of flow changes caused by Libby Dam and other human actions, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Associated Press reporter Nicholas K. Geranios says the report issued this week concluded that sturgeon eggs hatch best in places where rocks are washed clean of algae by river flow.
Read on for the rest of the AP story.
FISHING — Although steelhead fishing has opened in the Ringold area of the Columbia River's Hanford Reach, most angling pressure has been focused on the record run of chinook salmon packing into the area.
Anglers last week AVERAGED 2.5 chinooks per boat as they set sportfishing records for chinook caught in the free-flowing stretch between the Tri Cities and Priest Rapids Dam. Awesome.
The chinooks also are setting records on the Snake River.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service is again opposing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plan to increase releases of water from eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers to help salmon make the trek to the Pacific Ocean because the agency disagrees with the goal of the plan and the basic science on which it is premised.
RIVERS — An expedition of canoeists and Native American students is leading an upstream effort to advocate construction of a fish ladder to reintroduce chinook salmon runs in the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam.
On Aug. 2, five salmon-inspired dugout canoes started their journey up the Columbia River to pay tribute to the salmon no longer able to reach their historic spawning grounds of the Upper Columbia River since the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.
The boats have made it past Chief Joseph Dam last week, paddled up Lake Rufus Woods and completed the portage around Grand Coulee Dam on Saturday. They expected to paddle up Lake Roosevelt to Keller Ferry by Saturday night and then leave there today, headed for Two Rivers at the mouth of the Spokane River by Monday night.
From the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers, the paddlers will head up the Spokane River to Little Falls — the first dam that blocked salmon from migrating up to Spokane Falls in 1910. Spokane Tribe schoolkids (who helped build one of the dugout canoes) will join the paddle. A public event of some sort is planned at the end of the week. See blog updates here.
The “Sea to the Source” expedition left Astoria, Ore., in an upstream voyage toward Canal Flats, the source of the Columbia River in British Columbia.
The crew consists of five river guides who oversee a river-based environmental education program called Voyages of Rediscovery. They are enlisting the muscle power of Indian Tribes, youths and other supporters along the way.
“The idea behind the canoes and the river expedition is to bring the salmon back to the upper reaches of the Columbia River,” said Adam Wicks-Arshack a guide with Voyages of Rediscovery and environmental educator. “We carved these canoes with thousands of students who’ve had the salmon removed from their culture by Grand Coulee Dam.”
The five dugout canoes were carved at various schools over the past year. For most of the trip they have been paddling two canoes, the “Salmon Savior” a 21-foot ponderosa pine, carved at the Wellpinit Middle and High School on the Spokane Reservation and a larger 33-foot cedar canoe, the “Crying Salmon,” which was carved by the students of Inchelium School on the Colville Reservation.
As the expedition arrives at each school that carved a canoe, Inchelium, Wellpinit, Kettle Falls, and Medicine Wheel Academy of the Community School in Spokane, the canoes will be gifted back to the school and young people who carved them.
“These canoes represent the Salmon,” said Xander Demetrios, a river guide with the expedition. “They have traveled through many hardships from the Pacific Ocean and are nearing their former Spawning Grounds. These will be the first salmon to pass Chief Joe and Grand Coulee in a long time.”
The expedition has canoed more than 545 miles up the Columbia River to Chief Joseph Dam, the first dam without a fish ladder and is approaching Grand Coulee Dam.
The river guides and environmental educators anticipate another 1-2 weeks of paddling to reach the international border between the United States and Canada.
John Zinser, boat builder and river guide, proudly praises the young carvers (see video above). “The students worked every day on these canoes and it is an honor to paddle these salmon canoes which were created with so much energy from so many young people,” he said.
When the expedition arrives at each school the crew is giving presentations about their journey and the importance of salmon and the Columbia River. Most importantly each student will have the opportunity to paddle in the canoes they carved.
This expedition comes in the midst of preparations by the United States and Canada to renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty that governs one of the great rivers of the world. The 1964 Treaty failed to consult with Tribes, First Nations, and the residents of southern British Columbia. The Treaty built 3 treaty dams in British Columbia and the Libby Dam in northwestern Montana, forcing 2000 people from their homes. The Treaty contains only the two purposes of hydropower and flood control.
Tribes and conservationists want a third purpose added to the Treaty: restoring the Columbia River to ecological health including bringing salmon home to waters blocked by dams.
“The Grand Coulee Dam was once considered to be the greatest engineering project the world had ever seen,” noted Wicks-Arshack. “Now let's get started with the greatest eco-engineering project—a fish ladder at the Grand Coulee Dam.”
Voyages of Rediscovery is a program of The River School, a non-profit river based environmental education not for profit. They have been offering educational canoe trips and canoe building opportunities on the Columbia River for the past five years. If you would like to follow the Sea2Source expedition, you can follow their blog and/or facebook page.
FISHING — An unusually lengthy warm season in the interior Columbia Basin, combined with low water volumes, has apparently given, first sockeye salmon and then fall chinook salmon, reason to pause before they jump an eighth and final hydro hurdle — the lower Snake River’s Lower Granite Dam— on their spawning journey.
Read a detailed update on the sistuation from the Columbia Basin Bulletin.
In a nutshell, if you don't hold the dam at fault, it's the weather's fault.
UPDATE: State fish managers say the small fish hatchery to be built under this licensing agreement will be devoted to restoring native cutthroat and bull trout. Fish for stocking in northeast Washington lakes under the agreement will come from existing hatcheries under a contract between the utility and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
RIVERS — The license for Boundary Dam has met the requirements for approval with no appeals submitted, according to Seattle City Light, and that spells the beginning of projects to improve wildlife habitat, recreational facilities and fisheries along the Pend Oreille River.
The license was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March, but utility officials said today that the final hurdles had been cleared.
Under the new 42-year license, City Light will be required to mitigate the impacts of the dam to the surrounding environment in Pend Oreille County. These measures include long-term water quality monitoring programs, terrestrial habitat improvements, and wildlife monitoring programs for bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other species.
For example, Mill Pond Dam on Sullivan Creek will be removed under the agreement, clearing the way for fish passage — and kayakers — for the first time since 1909.
A native trout conservation hatchery is planned to raise cutthroats and bull trout that will be planted to help restore the native species in tributaries to the Boundary Reservoir. Required habitat restoration in these tributaries will benefit westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout and mountain whitefish.
Contracts will be signed with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide fish of various species from other hatcheries to stock in area lakes.
The utility is required to make avariety of recreational improvements in the Boundary project area including:
“This has been a long and carefully managed process, drawing input from many stakeholders and taking into account wildlife protection, recreational and cultural amenities, and the water quality of the Pend Oreille River,” said City Light General Manager Jorge Carrasco.
Approval of the 42-year license is a critical economic benefit to City Light’s customers and to Pend Oreille PUD customers whose primary source of electricity is low-cost Boundary power, he said
Read on for details about the conclusion of the license renewal process, according to a Seattle City Light media release:
FISHING — Warming water temperatures in the Snake and Columbia rivers is catching the attention of fish scientists, especially those who support the removal of Snake River dams for the benefit of wild salmon and steelhead.
Following is the third memo in a series calling attention to the warming waters of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and the impacts of those high water temperatures on migrating salmon and steelhead provided by Joseph Bogaard, deputy director, Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, 206-286-4455 x103; firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer 2013 - Hot Water Alert No. 3
Columbia and Snake River temperatures over 70 degrees for third straight week
Memo to Northwest writers, reporters, editorialists, and columnists – August 7, 2013
For the week July 29 through August 4, water temperatures were 70 degrees or higher 45 times at Columbia and Snake River federal dams passable to salmon – up from 35 readings the previous week. At three dams – The Dalles and John Day on the Columbia, and Ice Harbor on the Snake – temperatures were above 70 degrees all seven days both above and below the dams. At Ice Harbor Dam, temperatures have now been above 70 degrees for 17 consecutive days; at The Dalles and John Day, for 11 consecutive days.
The Dalles Dam(first reading = forebay/above dam; second reading = tailrace/below dam)
70.1 F 70.2 F
70.7 F 70.7 F
70.8 F 70.9 F
Aug 1 70.6 F
Aug 2 70.1 F
Aug 3 70.2 F
Aug 4 71.1 F
John Day Dam (first reading = forebay/above dam; second reading = tailrace/below dam)
July 29 70.9 F
July 30 70.9 F
July 31 71 F
Aug 1 70.8 F
Aug 2 70.6 F
Aug 3 70.9 F
Aug 4 71.5 F
Ice Harbor Dam (first reading = forebay/above dam; second reading = tailrace/below dam)
July 29 71 F
July 30 70.8 F
July 31 70.8 F
Aug 1 70.6 F
Aug 2 70.4 F
Aug 3 71 F
Aug 4 70.2 F
Bonneville Dam (first reading = forebay/above dam; second reading = tailrace/below dam)
Aug 1 70 F
Aug 4 70.3 F
The Idaho Statesman reported August 3 that hundreds of endangered sockeye and chinook salmon were trapped in July by warm water at the base of the Lower Granite Dam fish ladder on the lower Snake. Turbine adjustments and auxiliary pumps finally got the fish moving up the ladder, but the situation could be a harbinger for days and years ahead.
RIVERS — The author of “Elwha: A River Reborn,” will be in Spokane on Tuesday for a free presentation on the people, places, fish and history behind the world's largest dam removal effort.
Lynda Mapes, a Seattle Times reporter, will speak at 7 p.m. in the Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main Ave.
Mapes joined Times photographer Steve Ringman to document what’s led to this monumental $325 million environmental restoration project.
Two antiquated dams are being removed to allow the Elwha to run freely for 45 miles from its headwaters in Olympic National Park to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The effort is opening more than 70 miles of spawning habitat to steelhead and all five species of Pacific salmon
Scientists, tribes, elected officials, local communities, agency officials and anglers are putting stock in the power of nature to turn back the clock on an Olympic Peninsula river once known for hosting runs of 100-pound chinook.
BUMPY ROAD TO RECOVERY: Fish hatchery losses
A pump failure at the Elwha Klallam fish hatcher last weekend led to the deaths of at least 200,000 coho salmon, spawned last fall, and roughly 2,000 year-old steelhead trout — about 50 percent of this year's crop of the fish destined for restoring runs in the Elwha River. See the story.
RIVERS — In Fiscal Year 2012, the Bonneville Power Administration reported $644.1 million in total costs for its federally mandated actions to mitigate the impacts Columbia River Basin hydroelectric development has had on fish and wildlife.
The costs are listed an annual report released last week by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council to the governors of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
The Northwest Power passed by Congress in 1980 requires BPA, which markets power generated at federal dams in the region, to fund the NPCC programs undertaken by state and federal agencies and some tribes.
Bonneville estimates the grand total expended since 1978, when the costs began, through 2012, is about $13 billion, not including $2.27 billion in capital investments for fish hatcheries and fish passage facilities at dams.
Read on for a summary of the 2012 costs, compiled by the Columbia Basin Bulletin:
RIVERS – Thomas O’Keefe of American Whitewater will update paddlers on the approval for removing Mill Pond Dam on Sullivan Creek and other river-liberating projects in a program for the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club Monday, april 22 7 p.m., at Mountain Gear Corporate Headquarters, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave. in Spokane Valley.
O'Keefe, AW’s Pacific Northwest stewardship director, will discuss the national group’s regional river conservation efforts, including recent dam removal success stories, revision of national forest plans and the future of river management for the Lochsa River and the rest of the Clearwater drainage.
FISHING — Anglers have until Monday to comment on proposals geared to helping them get the most out of a very limited spring chinook salmon fishing season being planned for the Snake River in late April and May.
“The 2013 run forecast is low, and following the restrictions of federal Endangered Species Act, the harvest allocation available for the Snake River is just 360 adipose-fin-clipped hatchery adults, at least until the in-season run update is available the first week of May,” says John Whalen, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regional fisheries manager.
The agency is asking anglers to choose one of three options and let biologists know by email to help them make a decision that will please the most anglers.
Read on for details and the options from WDFW:
RIVERS – The Corps of Engineers’ plan to dredge portions of the Lower Snake River is a touchy issue politically, economically and in regard so salmon and steelhead.
I know this because none of the fisheries biologists I contacted this month would comment. They all referred me to managers who referred me to documents their agencies were filing – on or after the public comment period that ended Tuesday for environmental impact statement on the Corps’ sediment management plan,
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game submitted comments to the Governor's Office to be incorporated into a package of State comments on the draft EIS.
Dredging is proposed at three sites in Lower Granite Reservoir and below Ice Harbor Dam because sediment buildup, an expected problem associated with dams, is interfering with commercial navigation.
Sam Mace of Save our Wild Salmon, says there’s a better idea that would be cheaper and more sustainable in the long run: Breach the dams.
Maintenance and operations costs for the lower Snake River barge transportation corridor greatly exceed its economic benefits, she says.
“With a growing project backlog and deepening federal deficits, these new analyses raise serious questions about the lower Snake waterway’s economic viability, and its burden to local communities and American taxpayers.”
The byproduct of such economic responsibility would be boosting endangered salmon runs with a natural, free-flowing river.
Outdoors and wildlife-related stories recently published in The Spokesman-Review include:
Out & About: Poacher sends $6,000 check to ease conscience; wolf origin hard to peg
RIVERS – The annual drawdown of Lake Spokane, the Spokane River reservoir also known as Long Lake, has begun, Avista Utilities announced today in a media release.
Starting today, operators expect to lower the reservoir up to one foot a day for two or three weeks until it reaches its winter elevation of 13-14 feet below maximum summer elevation of 1,536 feet.
Under the right weather conditions, which include sustained periods of single-digit temperatures and little or no snow on the exposed lakebed, the drawdown is expected to help control Eurasian watermilfoil and other invasive aquatic weeds found in Lake Spokane. The drawdown also allows property owners to complete state and locally permitted repair and construction projects along the lake shoreline.
The lower winter elevation will be maintained until runoff conditions begin. Water levels can change with weather conditions in the upper Spokane River drainage.
For updates on changes at Lake Spokane, the Spokane River and Coeur d’ Alene Lake, check the Avista website or call: Washington (509) 495-8043; Idaho, call (208) 769-1357.
PUBLIC LANDS — Retiring Congressman Norm Dicks has receive a conservation award from a national parks group.
The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees has awarded its highest honor, The George B. Hartzog Award, to Rep. Norm Dicks, D-WA, for his career-long support of America’s national parks and the National Park Service.
Hartzog, Parks director from 1964 to 1972, expanded the National Park System and worked with Congress to achieve comprehensive funding of the national parks.
Dicks has served on the Interior appropriations subcommittee since being elected to Congress in 1976.
While he supported a wide range of parks from the Everglades to Yosemite, Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula is a notable gem in Dicks’ district. He was an early supporter of removing the dams that significantly impacted the park ecosystem and blocked the passage of anadromous fish.
The Congressman was a key player in securing the passage of the Elwha River Restoration Act in 1992. After passage of this act, Dicks helped secure 15 consecutive appropriations to make dam removal a reality.
In a press release, the parks retiree group called that “an unheard of accomplishment.”
The Elwha Dam is gone, and the Glines Canyon Dam will be gone next year. The Elwha River will be free flowing, and the restoration of a major ecosystem, within a nationally and internationally recognized park, is on its way.
Upon receiving the award, Congressman Dicks said, “this is a great honor and I deeply appreciate the recognition for one of the most enduring causes of my career on the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee — improving and expanding our National Parks. These are the ‘crown jewels’ of the American landscape and I am proud of what we did in Congress during my tenure to improve the visitor experience at all of our park units.”
RIVERS — The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in Pasco toda on “save our dams” legislation introduced by Congressman Doc Hastings.
The Tri-City Herald reports the legislation would prohibit federal money from being used to remove hydropower dams without specific authorization by Congress.
The bill also would:
Shouldn't the bill also assure the public knows the value of fish and wildlife lost to power production, and the associated health issues, and the cost to subsidize the barging industry and the federal cost to replace the dams and deal with the silt issues that will come to a head in the next few decades?
There's a cost to everything. To peg fish and wildlife as the villain is disingenuous.
RIVERS — In an interview for a television broadcast, U.S. District Judge James A. Redden, who presided over the Northwest's biggest salmon lawsuit for nearly a decade, said the Snake River's four hydropower dams should be breached to help wild salmon.
Redden made the comments to Idaho Public Television.
RIVERS — Ding Dong the Dam is Gone….
That's the report from Olympic National Park. The decades-old project to remove Elwha Dam and return the Elwha River to the once flourishing run of jumbo chinook salmon has hit a milestone.
The dam is gone. We have that much accomplish in a project that spans three presidential administrations.